Letter: Missing men in Ketchikan

I am a family member of one of Ketchikan’s Missing Men.

His name is Roy V. Banhart and he has been missing since Dec. 30, 2014. I am very concerned about the Ketchikan community due to all the missing men who have not been accounted for. In addition to Roy (he would be 40 years old in April), there is Gary Hamilton, 69 and almost blind. Mr. Hamilton was last seen Nov. 13, 2015 at a bank (and he was known to have been previously beaten and robbed). There is Justin Nathan, a 20-year-old young man who did not make it down from Deer Mountain, where he was last seen on Dec. 11, 2015. I found a post from a former family member (Ketchikan Volunteer Rescue Squad) from November 2015 asking why the Alaska State Troopers would not answer their phone or return calls. That former family member had contacted the U.S. Coast Guard, and from what I read, it appeared they were ready and willing to assist in the search for Mr. Nathan.

Also missing is Thomas Booth, a 30-year-old father of two children (4 months old and 10 years old). Mr. Booth was last seen Jan. 2 at Safeway buying diapers.

There is also Angeline Dundas, who was found in the water in July 2015. She was a young mother.

I have requested assistance from the FBI. They said they need to have the Ketchikan Police Department request that. The police chief sent my sister a message a few days ago saying he talked to the FBI and there is no sign(s) of foul play, so they are not needed.

Someone had said within the past two weeks that two bodies were found (one on Deer Mountain Trail and one at the dump). After I read about that, I contacted the Ketchikan Police Department and Troopers to confirm, and they both said no bodies were found. I am wondering, due to the Public Prayer Vigil that was held Jan. 28 and the recent Silent Prayer Walk on Feb. 20, if some rumors might be clues and not rumors. Maybe someone who knows something is responsible for the rumor and is hoping that someone will do something with the information (such as find a body or bodies).

I submitted an e-message to be a part of the recent Ketchikan City Council Meeting, and when I watched the video of the meeting, I did not hear it acknowledged. Why does it feel like these men and this young woman are not worthy of proper investigations? Any resource I sought assistance from (Ketchikan Search and Rescue, Alaska State Troopers, Coast Guard, Forest Service, FBI) were all met with the same response: KPD needs to request the assistance.

I have no doubt in my mind if any of these people were a City Council member or Police Officer that full-blown searches would have taken place and all resources would have been used.

My aunt is deeply saddened by the loss of her only son. Gary Hamilton’s only surviving sister is heartbroken about her brother; she feels the KPD does not care enough to do a thorough investigation. She is now suffering with health issues. Thomas Booth has two small children; the 10-year-old is obviously impacted and old enough to know something is really bad/wrong with his dad not coming home. Justin Nathan’s mother is planning to get training from REI so she can rappel down Deer Mountain herself to look for her son.

Someone has to know something about at least one of these five people.

Irene Anderson

Kirkland, Washington

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